September Tornado 2018


On September 21st, 2018 several neighbourhoods in Ottawa and Gatineau were hit by a destructive tornado.   Other areas were also hit with very high wind gusts.    In just a few minutes, the landscape changed tremendously, and many residents were left with highly damaged properties (see some pictures below).

Huge trees broke, fell, or were completely uprooted.       Debris flung far and wide produced collateral damage.    It is mind boggling there were not more serious injuries.    Following this, there was a frantic effort to remove trees, clear the roads, cover holes in walls, windows and roofs.    As we were doing many temporary repairs, we were witnessing first hand the damages and the struggles the homeowners were experiencing.    We returned to the affected areas daily to continue doing temporary repairs for insurance companies through restoration companies.   I was continually amazed at the destruction but also surprised by how much could get done when people came together to help.    Many trades were on scene such as hydro workers, tree surgeons, engineers, construction companies, etc.

Even though the effort was quite impressive, 90 days following the event, many of the homeowners are not back in their homes.  Others are fortunate to be in their home but with plywood covering a window, tarps acting as shingles, etc.    If you were affected by this, you have found out quickly how tedious the process of restoring everything can be.  The city, insurance companies and engineers must assess damages.  Restoration companies and construction companies alike work to mitigate further damages, make a plan and determine a budget for the restoration of the properties.  This can take many months.     What adds to the frustration is that it is very hard to get answers as everyone is swamped at every junction and the bottlenecks slow the process down to a crawl.

Usual steps

  1. Storm happens.   City dispatches emergency workers for resident’s safety (i.e. downed power lines).
  2. Homeowner contacts insurance company.
  3. Insurance company dispatches a restoration company to go assess loss (make a list of property damages and damaged household items).
  4. Restoration company either performs the temporary repairs themselves or hires trades to do specific work in order to mitigate further damages (usually authorized very quickly).
  5. Game plan is suggested by restoration companies and reviewed by assigned insurance adjuster.
  6. Insurance gives authorization to proceed with permanent repair solutions depending on coverage, scope of work that needs to be done, etc.
  7. Much like a renovation or a construction project, the homeowner needs to decide on color and type of material, upgrades they may want to pay for, etc.

In the case of a tornado that takes place in Ottawa, the weather adds to the challenge.  With this specific tornado happening late in September, many of the temporary repairs were completed before the Winter but not the permanent repairs.     Homeowners are now asked to be patient and wait for Spring for much of the work to be started.

Some companies like Rancourt Roofing have decided to offer working throughout the winter to continue restoring the houses even if the conditions are not always ideal…for the workers.   Yes, it is not ideal to shingle in sub zero temperature but once the challenges are explained to clients, they understand that it can still be completed without problems in most situations.

Our company has been working with insurance and restoration companies for over a decade and we know how to assess, mitigate loss, report, plan and restore the roof to its original condition or better.

If you are dealing with an insurance claim and need some guidance from a company who has thousands of insurance claims under their belt, please don’t hesitate to contact us for some information.

May Wind storm 2018

Originally posted may 28

Wind Storm

On Friday May 4th 2018, Ottawa was host to a substantial wind storm. tell us wind gusts reached 97km/h, which is significant because that is approximately the wind resistance of lower grade 3-tab shingles.  You may have noticed homes in your area with missing shingles, or possibly your home was missing shingles.

What should you do?

Try to assess the damage.

  1. Not always easy but try to see your roof.  Look for areas where there are colour differences from missing shingles.  There may be some flashing that has come undone as well.  Binoculars might come in handy for low pitch roof where you need to stand back significantly.
  2. Are there shingles in your yard?  Are they the same type and colour as your roof?  If not, it’s not your roof but shingles that were blown away from one your neighbours.  You may want to let your neighbour know.

If you see exposed plywood, then you need to act quickly.  Rain will find it’s way in.  If you have some underlayment under your missing shingles (typically black), this might buy you a little time, but your roof is susceptible to a leak and still needs attention quickly.

If a tree or large branch fell and perforated your roof then you should call your insurance.

Should you call you insurance agent or a roofing contractor?

It depends on the extent of the damage.  You must weigh the cost of the repair versus your deductible.   A small repair with less than 10 shingles to replace, might cost you $300-$500 or more (without an insurance report).  The problem is the new shingles, even if they are the same make and colour will look different, since they are new and haven’t discoloured yet.  The older the roof, the more noticeable the difference. If you have missing shingles on many elevations (or a big elevation) and you are concerned with colour harmony than a claim might be in your best interest.  Your insurance might opt to replace each elevation where shingles are missing.

How can Rancourt Roofing help?

Whether you need an insurance report and/or a repair, we can help.  We have literally done thousands of insurance reports and thousands of repairs.  We know what information your claims adjuster wants, and we offer a comprehensive report with pictures and diagrams.  We typically do emergency repairs at the same time.  Ask your adjuster to get an insurance report and temporary repairs from Rancourt Roofing. 

Will Rancourt Roofing do an insurance report directly for you the homeowner?

We can…but typically we don’t.  The main reason is we don’t know how much damage or how much work it will be, so we can’t give a fixed price.   If we don’t find any wind damage then no claim can be made and you will need to absorb the cost for the insurance report.  If you plan to make a claim, then call your adjuster first (still let them know you want Rancourt to take care of repairs and insurance reports).

What if you don’t want to deal with repairs ever again?

Shingles have gotten a lot better over the years.  This might be because states with frequent hurricanes and storms have demanded higher building code standards.  In Florida for example, the building code for shingles requires that they be resistant to winds of 160.9 km/h (100mp/h) the equivalent of a Category 2 storm on the Saffir-Simpson Scale.  Some lower end 3-tab shingles in Canada only offer wind resistance up to 60mp/h (approx. 97 km/h).  That does not offer a lot of peace of mind.  Rancourt Roofing can install shingles that have 200km/h wind resistance or more!  And the price difference is negligible.

What if you don’t want to worry about hail?

Hail storms are also becoming recurrent and serious. Shingles can also be classified for their resistance to hail.

During a Class 4 impact resistance test on asphalt shingles, a 2” diameter steel ball is dropped from 20’ onto the shingle to simulate the impact of hail. This is done twice in the same spot. This process is then repeated on 6 different spots. A shingle passes the test if it does not show any visible evidence of tearing, fracturing, cracking, splitting, rupture, crazing, or other opening of the roof-covering layer.


These shingles tend to have phenomenal wind resistance as well.  The best ones can have a rating of 140mp/h (225km/h).

The takeaway…

Scientists say storms now are more frequent and more destructive and will likely become more severe in the future.  Rancourt Roofing can offer you peace of mind for decades to come. When storms strike, you no longer need to cross your fingers and hope for the best.  Simply choose the best.